Bangkok Post, September 18, 2001
Muslims galled by Tinawat's pig-fat jibe
A Thai Rak Thai MP who emailed President George Bush suggesting he drop pig-fat bombs on Islamic terrorists has invoked the wrath of his colleagues.
Tinawat Maruekapitak, a list-MP, said he told the US president he could forsake nuclear-tipped rockets and Tomahawk cruise missiles and instead use pig-fat bombs or spray pork fat from planes when he retaliates for last week's attacks.
Suranand Vejjajiva, Thai Rak Thai spokesman, said Mr Tinawat's action was "totally inconsiderate to people's feelings and insensitive to the delicate situation the nation faces". He should choose his words more carefully.
"Individual opinions can, of course, be expressed in a democratic country like Thailand. But one must be held responsible for his or her words. In this case Mr Tinawat's point of view is not that of Thai Rak Thai's, and he is to be condemned for his poor suggestion," Mr Suranand said. Mr Tinawat's conduct would be raised at a party meeting today.
Imron Maruleem, a Muslim senator, said Mr Tinawat's action would upset the local Islamic community. "I don't know who got him into saying this. He might not know that the Muslims do not find this kind of joke funny, particularly at this time. He has unnecessarily stirred hatred against himself," Mr Imron said.
In a televised address, Sawas Sumalayasak, a Muslim spiritual leader, called on Thai Muslims to remain united and comply with the government's policy regarding the US attacks. Former foreign minister Surin Pitsuwan, a senior Democrat and a Muslim, said Mr Tinawat acted childishly without thinking of the consequences. Mr Tinawat said he had sent off the email with good intentions and had not intended to offend Muslims.